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Water Industry Regulatory Bodies Complaints

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 18 Jan 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Ccwater Consumers Consumer Council For

If a water and sewerage service provider fails to provide a satisfactory resolution to a complaint there are industry regulatory bodies set up to make sure the consumer’s rights are upheld.

The Regulatory Body – the Water Services Regulation Authority

The privatisation of the water and sewerage industry in England and Wales in 1989 led to the foundation of the Water Services Regulation Authority, or Ofwat, a non-ministerial government body that now oversees 22 water and sewerage companies.

As an economic regulator, Ofwat is primarily known its efforts in imposing price controls for services and protecting consumer interests. It also encourages competition and sufficient investment within the industry and takes charge of the administration and enforcement of the licensing regime for water and sewerage companies.

It is not concerned with water quality or environmental issues, as this falls within the jurisdiction of other regulation authorities such as the Environment Agency and English Nature.

Consumer Council for Water

If a complaint about a water supplier is not resolved satisfactorily by the company itself then consumers should further their dispute with the Consumer Council for Water, or CCWater.

This independent consumer watchdog was set up in 2005 to represent the interests of business and domestic water and sewerage customers in England and Wales.

CCWater acts on behalf of water consumers in representing their opinions and concerns about the price and quality of water and sewerage services. It researches and puts forward customers’ views and suggestions for industry improvements, offers advice and information and also handles and investigates consumer complaints that have not been resolved by the respective water and sewerage companies.

Investigation of Consumer Complaints

CCWater aims to resolve complaints promptly and fairly and in accordance with published standards and targets. Remedies could variably include an explanation, an apology, compensation or engineering work by the company. However, they do not have legal power to force water and sewerage services pay compensation.

The service is free and an appropriate committee in charge of the relevant area will look into the complaint. If the complainant is not satisfied by the committee’s efforts to sort out the problem then it can be taken to the director.

If the CCWater cannot resolve the dispute acceptably then before taking any steps towards the court room it is sensible to first seek advice from either a local Trading Standards office or Citizens Advice Bureau. They will offer free guidance and may even take up the complaint.

Before Contacting CCWater

Before submitting a complaint to CCWater it is essential that the company responsible is given chance to put the problem right. All companies will have a complaints procedure to follow that will have been approved by Ofwat. The procedures are available as leaflets from the respective company or easily accessible on their website.

All water and sewerage companies must maintain a two-stage complaint procedure, and so if this ground level action proves unsatisfactory, then the company should be contacted again and request a review by a more senior manager. If the two stages prove fruitless then the services of CCWater will be available to further the complaint.

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Re: Essex & Suffolk Water - WaterSure Scheme DISCRIMINATION!! continued... MY ARGUMENT: There are two distinct Essex & Suffolk Water Household Customer Groups: 1. Water metered household group 2. Non-metered household group The fact that I do not have and DO NOT WISH FOR a water meter to be installed on my premises as grounds for non-legibility to the WaterSure scheme is blatant discrimination! I put it to you that the Essex & Suffolk WaterSure Scheme criterion is: 1. UNFAIR – It removes the customers ‘right’ to decide to remain unmetered; 2. UNJUST – the WaterSure scheme is only applicable to one of the above Residential Customer Groups [the metered Group]; 3. DISCRIMINATORY: (a) Since both Essex & Suffolk Water Residential Customer Groups receive a continued water supply and (b) both Groups may have households that meet the Basic Qualifying Criteria for the WaterSure Scheme [water bill is 3% or more of their net household income and a household individual receives a specific means-tested benefit], Essex & Suffolk Water have made a distinction against an individual [me in this instance] based on the group/category to which that person belongs rather than on merit. In essence Essex & Suffolk Water has restricted members of one group from opportunities/privileges that are available to another group, leading to the exclusion of an individual based on Essex & Suffolk Water decision making. This is tantamount to DISCRIMINATION!!! Harassment and intimidation tactics [pertaining to overpriced monthly utility requests I am unable to meet on my income] plus additional charges [what I believe to be County Court fees/charges for a ruling which I received NO INVITATION to make my case] from a conglomerate such as Essex & Suffolk Water, only serve to further exacerbate my current ill health status. Why do Regulatory Bodies continually allow such companies to discriminate and exact unfair justice against the poor?
JS - 18-Jan-16 @ 5:54 PM
Monday 18th January 2016 -17:40pm- Re: Essex & Suffolk Water - WaterSure Scheme DISCRIMINATION!! I am extremely perturbed! On Wednesday 3rd June 2015, I stumbled across a leaflet in my Essex & Suffolk annual bill envelope and noticed a question which asked “Are you struggling to pay your bill?” I visited the leaflets web page for more information. Two-thirds of the way down the web page a notice read “If you receive your bill from Essex and Suffolk Water or South East Water, you should contact them directly regarding how to apply.” Thames WaterSure Plus criterion: *Your water bill should be at least 3% of your gross household income *You should receive one or more of three specific benefits. Since I had fit the applicable criteria on the Thames WaterSure Plus web page, I used the formula provided to work out if I qualified for a reduced bill the WaterSure Plus Scheme provided before contacting Essex & Suffolk Water. To work out my water bill as a percentage of my annual income, I divide my water bill by my (gross household) income and multiply by 100: 407.78 divided by 5,925.4 x 100 = 6.88% On 3rd June 2015 at 08:46am I telephoned Essex & Suffolk water (Tel. no: 0345 782 0111, option 4). I had a conversation with a female operative from the Billings Dept. regarding applying for the WaterSure Scheme. Unhappy with the outcome; I asked to speak to a manager. I spoke to Adam – Billings Dept. Manager at approx. 8:50am. Adam repeated the words spoken by the female operative: ‘You must have a water meter installed to be eligible for the scheme. If you don’t have a water meter, then you’re not eligible‘. Adam continued, saying: ‘As the sole occupant of the premises, a water meter could halve your bill with an approximate reduction of £200 per year. Without a water meter we don’t know how much water you’re using. Essex & Suffolk water meter policy – installation is on request by premises owner: *The premises owner has a 2 year period from the date of installation, where they can revert back to unmetered billing, if the meter does not provide savings. *The meter will not be removed if the premises owner decides to revert back to unmetered billing within the given period; it just remains used. *Thereafter, once new premises owners take custody of the premises, metered billing is mandatory.’ MY ARGUMENT: There are two distinct Essex & Suffolk Water Household Customer Groups: 1. Water metered household group 2. Non-metered household group The fact that I do not have and DO NOT WISH FOR a water meter to be installed on my premises as grounds for non-legibility to the WaterSure scheme is blatant discrimination! I put it to you that the Essex & Suffolk WaterSure Scheme criterion is: 1. UNFAIR – It removes the customers ‘right’ to decide to remain unmetered; 2. UNJUST – the WaterSure scheme is only applicable to one of the above Residential Customer Groups [the metered Group]; 3. DISCRIMINATORY: (a)
JS - 18-Jan-16 @ 5:44 PM
Is there a regulating body for uk holiday cottage companies, where there is no travel included and they are just dealing with uk cottage bookings?I am an owner and am having all sorts of issues with my previous agent including their refusal to give me guest contact details for current and future bookings made with them.I used to use their housekeeping services but don't any longer (because of issues).I am now in the very awkward position of not being able to get in touch with guests before their arrival unless I go via the old agent, and I can't even change the house entry code without informing the old agent what it is.They say they can't let me have guest contact details because of data protection!I think this is wrong.Is there industry guidance on what personal data can pass between guest/agent/owner?
YellowDuck - 7-Aug-15 @ 8:10 AM
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